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Strength and Stretching Exercises That Support Your Shoulder

Strength and Stretching Exercises That Support Your Shoulder

Can you think of a health problem that affects about one-fourth of adults at any given time? If you guessed shoulder pain, you’re correct. Studies have shown that shoulder pain is one of the most common regional pain syndromes, affecting 18%-26% of adults at any point in time. 

For many people, shoulder pain can be quelled with a couple of painkillers. But for others, the pain can be debilitating to the point that they lose their ability to carry out daily activities at home and in the workplace. 

While you can’t avoid all shoulder pain, there are ways to keep your shoulders healthy and protect them from injury and damage. With the right strength and stretching exercises, you can support your shoulder and avoid pain and stiffness. 

Have you recently suffered a shoulder injury, or do you have shoulder pain that won’t dissipate? If so, come in to see the team at Kai Sports Medicine in Little Silver, New Jersey. Dr. Zachary Perlman, a board-certified internal medicine and primary care sports medicine specialist, is an expert on shoulder injuries.

Here, he describes helpful stretches and exercises for shoulder health. 

Stretching exercises 

The shoulder is one of the most complicated joints in your body, with muscles, tendons, and bones all meeting together in a small space. It’s also prone to arthritis and tears, typically in the rotator cuff, from overuse. 

Stretching your shoulder muscles keeps them long and flexible, which helps prevent injury. The following stretches are easy to perform and pay big dividends. 

Shoulder rolls

A great warm-up before exercise, shoulder rolls get blood and oxygen to your muscles, making them more pliable for stretching. Simply put your arms at your sides and move your shoulders up, backward, and down to make a circular motion. Do 10 reps and then switch to forward rolls. 

Cross-body shoulder stretch

This stretch, which you often see athletes performing, works the back part of the shoulder. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Reach one of your arms straight out, and bring it across your chest against your body. Then, bend your other arm at the elbow, coming up around the extended arm to keep it in place. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, and then switch arms.

Door frame stretch

This stretch works the front of your shoulder and your chest. Stand in an open doorway and put your hand on the door frame at shoulder height. Turn your body away from the doorway (left if using your right hand, and vice versa) until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds, and repeat four times before switching arms. 

Strengthening exercises

Building strength in your shoulder gives it stability. Strength exercises can also relieve pain and, with stretching, help ward off injury. You don’t need to go to the gym to do these exercises. You can perform effective shoulder exercises with elastic resistance bands and a small set of dumbbells under 10 pounds. 

Elbow extensions

This is a dumbbell exercise. Hold a small dumbbell in one hand, and raise it straight above your head. Place your other hand on your elbow for support as you lower the dumbbell toward the back of your shoulder and then return it to overhead. 

Do three sets of 8-12 reps, and then switch arms. When you feel comfortable doing so, you can increase the weight of the dumbbell by a pound at a time — up to 10 pounds — to gain strength. 

Reverse fly 

This band exercise works your shoulders, upper back, and upper arms. With a band laid out straight on the floor, stand on the middle of it with your feet a few inches apart. Pick up the handles of the band and cross them so the band forms an X at shin level. Pull the handles up and out until your outstretched arms reach shoulder height. Hold the position for 5 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 reps.

Are you experiencing shoulder pain and stiffness that won’t go away? To get an accurate diagnosis and learn about how you can prevent future shoulder pain, call 732-369-9765 to book an appointment with the Kai Sports Medicine team. You can also request an appointment through this website.

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